For four long years, Georgetown faithful have been waiting for Henry Sims to live up to his potential and add his name to the legacy of Hoya big men.
And while it will take more than one game for Sims to change the trajectory of his Georgetown career, he opened his senior campaign with the kind of performance that reminded everyone why he will be an important piece of the Hoyas puzzle going forward.
In a somewhat sluggish season opener against Savannah State, Sims was clearly the star of the show, scoring a career-high 19 points and creating havoc on defense in the Hoyas’ 83-54 triumph over the Tigers.
Sims obliterated his previous career high of 12 points and left having filled up the stat sheet by adding six rebounds, five assists and three blocks — far and away the most complete performance of his career.
“Henry was good today,” coach John Thompson III said. “I’ve been telling him this and sooner or later he’s going to accept this, buy into it and do it, but Henry needs to make hustle plays. The effort he gave today, going after rebounds, a couple of blocked shots — his points came off effort plays as opposed to him worrying about shots.”
To say that Sims hasn’t been a focal point in the Hoyas’ offense is an understatement. Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax didn’t even bother to plan for the 6-foot-10 center.
“No, I didn’t expect Sims to do much based on what he’s done in the past,” Broadnax admitted.
In the first half, Sims showcased the kind of post presence the Hoyas desperately need, taking advantage of his frame to power inside for back-to-back baskets and then using his improved passing skills to find freshman Greg Whittington for a 3-pointer that gave Georgetown a 23-15 edge.
“I prepared a lot in the offseason. I worked hard,” Sims said. “That’s what happens when you work hard. You play hard and everything came off effort.”
Several times during timeouts, Thompson pounced on Sims as he walked off the court, showing demonstrative glee in his center’s efforts on both offense and defense.
“I thought his effort was very good today,” Thompson said.
In the second half, with the Hoyas in the midst of a 20-2 run that broke open a 32-29 contest, Sims began expanding his range, firing in 18-foot jumpers en route to a 9 of 11 shooting day.
“Like Hollis [Thompson] says, I feel like my shot is good every day,” Sims said. “It’s hard work. I was open. I’ve been putting in the work, I had the shot and I knocked it down.”
Sims wasn’t the only Hoya who was hot, as Georgetown shot 67 percent from the field, including 20 of 29 in the second half, to put away the pesky Tigers.
Defensively, the Hoyas’ length caused major issues for Savannah State as well. Georgetown forced 16 turnovers and tallied 10 blocks, as Sims and company were a major presence in the paint.
It all added up to a game that Sims has been dreaming about since he stepped on Georgetown’s campus — one that ended in a standing ovation.
“I can’t remember the last time it happened, but it felt good,” he said.